Thursday, January 31, 2008

Upson Named in England Squad

Matthew Upson has been named in Fabio Capello's first England squad to play Switzerland on 6 February but Robert Green has been left out once again.

David James, Scott Carson and Chris Kirkland all got the nod ahead of Green. After Scott Carson's disastrous performance against Croatia in November it is unbelievable he is picked ahead of Green.

West Ham's Mark Noble has been named in Stuart Pearce's under-21 squad for next week's European Championship qualifier against Republic of Ireland.

Highlights of West Ham vs Liverpool

West Ham Abandon New Training Camp

According to today's Sun West Ham have abandon plans of a move to a new £10 training complex. The club had decided to move the first-team squad training to Rush Green in Barking, site of the old Ford Utd FC but The Sun say West Ham can no longer afford it because "chairman Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson has ordered a massive belt-tightening from top to bottom."

However the only quote the paper has from West Ham is, "There were one or two issues with that site. But other options are being investigated." Which of course carries no mention of belt-tightening.

West Ham Victory Earns Faint Praise

One day West Ham will be given credit by the media for winning a football match. That day is not today. Once again the papers are more interested in how the opposition contrived to lose rather than how West Ham dominated possession and won the game.

The Daily Mail seemed singularly unimpressed with West Ham's win claiming the side is 'crying out for some imagination.' They also seem to think that it is no surprise that Curbishley leaves Ashton on the bench,

"The pair have fallen out, make no mistake, and Ashton is playing a waiting game while the board deliberate the long-term future of their manager."

Did I miss something or do The Mail think that the owners are going to sack a manager who has beaten Man Utd and Liverpool in the last five league games and taken a side from the bottom of the Premier League to within touch of European competition in only a year?

The Telegraph rather than criticise the West Ham players decide instead to have a go at the fans. They were particularly unimpressed with the reaction to Boa Morte's substitution which 'brought a collective cheer from an impatient Upton Park.'

The Guardian acknowledge that West Ham could have won the game by more than one goal,

"West Ham were abrasive, awkward and admirable but neither scintillating nor suffocating and, had Fredrik Ljungberg or Luis Boa Morte shown more composure at the far post, they would have eased well ahead long before Liverpool mustered their late rally."

Now you pick the bones out of that quote are The Guardian trying to praise or criticise West Ham? It's hard to tell. However the paper was less ambiguous in singling out Noble and Ljungberg who 'were both excellent'.

The Times manage to admit that 'West Ham are difficult opponents.' They also see Carlton Cole as 'one for the pragmatist more than the purist. Much like West Ham as a whole.' Which I suppose is fair criticism as is the criticism of West Ham's finishing, "West Ham are as nervous in front of goal as an MP filling out an expenses claim." The paper notes that West Ham's starting eleven have scored just 12 league goals this season.

The Independent website took its normal night's sleep.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

West Ham 1 Liverpool 0

Liverpool probably started the stronger of the teams but as the first half progressed it was West Ham who began to dominate both possession and territory and Liverpool were reduced to desperate measures to keep West Ham at bay.

It was a Carragher foul on Cole that led to West Ham's closest effort of the half. Mark Noble took the resulting free-kick and found Boa Morte at the far post but Boa Morte's header hit the crossbar. Minutes before that Boa Morte had an even better chance when the ball found its way to him just inside the Liverpool area. However Boa Morte's shot flew way over the bar.

As the second half started Liverpool had another brief flurry but West Ham were soon back in charge. In the 55th minute Mark Noble from the right wing crossed another free-kick into the box and Boa Morte shot wide of the right post from 12 yards.

That was about the last of the action for Boa Morte as he and Bowyer were replaced by Ashton and Etherington in the 58th minute. Three minutes later and Liverpool brought on Lucas for Kewell.

It was the Brazilian who had the more immediate impact of the substitutes as his shot in the 62nd minute from 18 yards was deflected wide for a corner by Neill. Four minutes later and Lucas tried another shot from about the same distance but he failed to trouble Green as the ball sailed to the right of the West Ham goal.

In the 73rd minute Green was called into action as he saved Torres' 6 yard shot from the right side of the penalty area. West Ham then put together a sustained period of pressure and in the next five minutes managed a Cole header on goal, a Ljungberg right footed shot and a shot from Neil. Unluckily none of the shots hit the back of the net.

With only minutes of the game left Kuyt had a chance to score for Liverpool but his header from 12 yards missed West Ham's right hand post. Mark Noble soon made him regret that when in the 90th minute he got the game's only goal. A foul by Carragher on Ljungberg in the Liverpool penalty area gave West Ham a penalty. West Ham's youngest player took the responsibility of the spot kick on himself and drilled the ball into the bottom right of the goal.

Game over and possibly job over for Rafa Benitez.

West Ham vs Liverpool Live

There are no surprises in Mark Lawrenson's prediction for this game. He believes that Liverpool will win 1-2.

Sky Sports however have noticed that Liverpool have "stuttered on the field" and that there is "uncertainty ... behind the scenes". They predict the game will finish 1-1.

Setanta believe that West Ham have become a team that are hard to beat, remarking that "the Hammers have lost just one of their last six league games." They also predict a 1-1 draw.

FSi have only one stream so far for tonight's game. The stream is for Truesport 3 via TVAnts.

LiveFooty also have just the one TVAnts link, presumably also for Truesports 3.

You can listen to the commentary live if you have digital radio or Sky as the game is being covered by Radio London. Listen Live: BBC London DAB Digital Radio & Sky Channel 0152.

West Ham's Dailly Moves to Rangers

Scottish newspaper The Herald claim that West Ham have agreed for Christian Dailly to join Rangers on loan on a short term deal until the end of the season with the option of a further year.

They say that Dailly was "initially reluctant to uproot his wife and four children from their Essex home but is enthusiastic about the prospect of a move to Rangers in the twilight of his career."

No confirmation has appeared on the West Ham official site as yet.
The West Ham official site has confirmed that Dailly has left the club signing on a short term deal for Rangers. Dailly was West Ham's current longest serving player having been at the club for seven years and making 191 appearances for the club.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

West Ham vs Liverpool

This is fixture of real significance for both teams. If Liverpool win they regain fourth spot in the league. If West Ham win they will close the gap on the European qualifying places,

According to the official site the game will be too soon for Danny Gabbidon, Nobby Solano and Craig Bellamy but I still have a suspicion that Bellamy just might make the bench. Matthew Etherington and Dean Ashton have both been back in training so should be in the squad but Julien Faubert has a slight calf strain and is doubtful.

Mascherano is suspended so won't play against his old club. Andriy Voronin, Alvaro Arbeloa and Daniel Agger will also miss the game but through injury. New signing Slovakia centre-back Martin Skrte made his début at the weekend and may keep his place in the first team.

The BBC had Mark Lawrenson down as saying West Ham would win this one 2-1 yesterday. This has since been changed to a 1-2 loss. Someone needs to point out to him that Liverpool haven't won one of their last five league games whilst West Ham have won two and drawn two against tougher opposition.

Mixed Fortunes for Pantsil and Camara

Host nation Ghana booked their place in the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals with a 2-0 win against Morocco last night. However things nearly went wrong when West Ham's Pantsil put the ball into his own net with Ghana only 1-0 up. Luckily for Pantsil the ref disallowed the own goal for an earlier infringement.

Henri Camara's Senegal were not so lucky. They were defeated 3-1 by the unfancied Angola. After achieving a draw in their first game Senegal now only have a slim chance of progressing to the quarter-finals. Back West Ham Presidential Nominee

West Ham shirt sponsors have been quick to grab a little free publicity by exploiting the news that American presidential hope Barack Obama is supposedly a West Ham fan. They have offered to fly the Democrat nominee to West Ham's next home game, give him a free ticket and provide him with free hospitality.

"We send thousands of West Ham fans to Florida every summer so we'd be delighted to bring the Senator over to the UK," said managing director Martin Lock.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Collins Out for the Season

As feared James Collins' torn ligament will keep him out for a year. Collins picked up the injury in the West Ham reserve game with Portsmouth last week.

The swelling around the injury is thought to be so bad at present that an operation will not be possible until mid-February, with at least six months of rehabilitation then required after undergoing surgery.

Wales manager John Toshack will lose the services of Collins for Wales' upcoming internationals but is confident that Gabbidon and Bellamy will be available to him,

"This is a terrible blow for us, but we are more concerned about James. He is absolutely distraught," said Toshack.

"West Ham have assured us all they (Gabbidon & Bellamy) need is competitive matches to get their fitness back, and we will hope that by the time the Norway game comes around they will have played another match or two."

"West Ham have another reserve game this week and two league matches before we all meet up."

West Ham's High Wages

The News of the World has rehashed the story of Ashton and Neill being unhappy about their current contracts. The paper says that the summer signings were given generous wage deals that have left Ashton and Neill drawling with envy.

The paper says Ljungberg is on £80,000 a week and that Parker and Dyer are not far behind. They repeat the rumour that Eggy was pushed out because of the personal terms he negotiated with the players.

The News of the World seems to think the players are heading for a showdown with the club because Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson has determined that the players can no longer dictate the terms of their contracts.

Curiously the paper doesn't mention the other rumour that both Ashton and Neill have been told that they will have to wait until the summer before the club will discuss new contracts.

Lars Nilsson to West Ham

According to Sky Sports West Ham are closely monitoring the situation of St. Etienne forward Lars Nilsson. The Swede joined the French side from Heerenveen last summer, but has been handed just one first-team appearance since his switch.

The French papers say that West Ham United, Lens, Sochaux, Lorient and Auxerre are all keen on the want-away forward..

Next US President a West Ham Fan

The Sun claims that democratic hopeful Barack Obama is a West Ham fan. Obama is in a tight race with Hilary Clinton to get the Democratic nomination, so come November there could be an Iron in the Whitehouse.

The Sun says Obama has been a West Ham fan since he visited Britain five years ago. Apparently he keeps in touch with the Hammers through his brother-in-law's family in England - who are all West Ham fans.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bellamy Ruled Out of Liverpool Game

According to Mervyn Day, Craig Bellamy and Nobby Solano are unlikely to feature in West Ham's game against Liverpool.

"They are training well but Nobby's not had a reserve game or any sort of competitive football since he did his hamstring against Man United and Craig has been out even longer and has only literally played 87 minutes in a reserve match," Day says on the official site.

"Realistically it is going to be a big ask for them to be involved - but who knows what the situation might be in a few days' time."

Of course there could be an element of kidology about this statement. With West Ham's lack of options up front I wouldn't be surprised to see Bellamy at least make the bench.

West Ham Defender Buys the Beers

Lucas Neill walked into the Walkabout pub in London's West End yesterday and bought a drink for everyone in the bar. His generosity was aimed at helping his countrymen celebrate Australia Day.

"I'm a proud Australian and I wanted to do something for all the backpackers over here," he said. "It's an emotional day for me and I know some of them don't arrive here with a lot of cash, just like I did when I was starting out, so it was my way of giving them a bit of a lift."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Morrisey Reaffirms West Ham Allegiance
Russell Brand, in his Guardian column today, mentions that Morrisey has donned a West Ham Boys Club T-shirt again for his latest single That's How People Grow Up.

So because of the desperate lack of news about West Ham I thought I'd rehash a list of celebrity Irons fans:

Ray Winstone - Actor

John Cleese - Basil Fawlty, Monty Pythonist

Russell Brand - Comedian/tv presenter

Frank Bruno - Boxer

Todd Carty, Leslie Grantham, Ros Kemp and nearly everyone else who has appeared in Eastenders

Phil Jupitus - Comedian, Never Mind The Buzzcocks

David Essex - Singer

Nick Frost - Comedian/actor, Hot Fuzz, Spaced

Graham Gooch - Retired Cricketer, Essex

Alfred Hitchcock - Legendary film man and East Ender

Iron Maiden - Heavy metal band

Phil Jupitus - Comedian, Never Mind The Buzzcocks

Keira Knightley - Actress

Lennox Lewis - World Champion Boxer

Elijah Wood - Actor

Billy Bragg - Singer

Dave Grohl - Nirvana

Keith Flint - The Prodigy

Richard E Grant - Actor

Rod Stewart - Singer

I used the Celebrity Hammers Fans on Iain Dale's West Ham Till I Die blog and the Hammers Mad Celebrity Fans page to compile this list. Both pages have many more celebrity Irons who I arbitrarily decided were too unimportant to be mentioned here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Pantsil Closing on Quarter-Finals

John Pantsil's Ghana beat Namibia last night, leaving the hosts of the African Cup of Nations with six points from two games. A point against Morocco on Monday will be enough to see them through to the quarter-finals. Pantsil played the whole game last night despite suffering concussion in the tournament opener last Sunday.

Henri Camara's Senegal are next in action in Group D on Sunday night.

West Ham United After Nilsson

According to West Ham are thinking of bidding for Lars Nilsson. The 26-year-old Swedish forward is apparently becoming increasingly frustrated with his lack of first team opportunities in France with St Etienne, having started just one game since his summer move from Heerenveen.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Collins Awaiting Scan Results

James Collins has undergone a scan for possible ligament damage on his injured knee. The injury, sustained in last night's reserve game, is the latest of a line of injuries Collins has suffered this year. The injuries are obviously getting the West Ham defender down.

"At the end of last season I was playing the best football of my career," he said in November. "Now I keep getting niggly injuries that have constantly kept me out for weeks at a time.

"I just can't get myself into a run of games."

Bellamy Back for West Ham

Craig Bellamy finally returned to action last night appearing in West Ham reserves 1-0 win over Portsmouth Reserves. Bellamy was instrumental in West Ham's only goal when his low cross forced home defender Jean Francois Christophe to put the ball in his own net.

Bellamy played for all but three of the ninety minutes so could well be in contention for Wednesday's Liverpool game. Unfortunately James Collins had to be carried off the pitch in the first half with a knee injury.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ashton Back for Liverpool Game

Dean Ashton has recovered from the back pain that kept him out of West Ham's last game and is available for selection for the Liverpool game.

"I got a dead leg off the keeper on Wednesday night and from the collision with him I ended up having a slight back problem as well," said the West Ham striker.

"The muscles were still in spasm on Friday so I wasn't able to travel to Manchester for the league game but after having worked with our back specialist here over the weekend I feel fine. I returned to full training yesterday and felt good over the last two days and so I will definitely be available for contention against Liverpool."

Toon Target West Ham Striker

The Daily Mirror and The Daily Mail are the first of the papers to give credence to the rumour that Newcastle are after Dean Ashton. The Mail claim Ashton is 'out of favour' with Curbishley. Presumably this is 'out of favour' in the same way that Zamora has been 'out of favour', i.e. injured.

The Mirror claim Newcastle are prepared to bid £7 million. Which is shorthand for 'we have made this story up'. Ashton cost West Ham £7.25 million and his stock has risen considerably since then. Additionally West Ham are desperately short of forward options, therefore if Newcastle were about to prepare a bid for Ashton the sums being talked about would be at least double that.

The Mirror's main evidence for this non-story is the claim that 'Mirror Sport understands there has not yet been a bid for Ashton.'

We understand West Ham have not yet made a bid for 'out of favour' Ronaldinho. This probably means we are about to make a £3 million pound bid for the Barca star.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

West Ham 's Director of Football

KUMB seem to think that Giovanni Trapattoni could be announced soon as West Ham's new Director of Football.

Trapattoni has managed some of Europe's biggest teams, including AC Milan, Juventus, Inter, Benfica, FC Bayern Munich and the Italian national side. He is currently in charge of Austrian outfit FC Salzburg, where he has been for the last two years.

West Ham Adverts Beat Man Utd

According to The Daily Mail the flashing billboards behind the goal at West Ham put Ronaldo off and caused him to miss a penalty.

They believe the advert moving to the left forcing Ronaldo to shoot to the left.

A bigger shock would be if the papers started praising West Ham for winning games rather than look for excuses in the opposition's performance.

West Ham adverts

west Ham vs Liverpool -The Season Decider

Next Wednesday's game home to Liverpool has the feel of a season decider. If we lose we won't be out of contention for a European place but a win will really put us in the mix.

If we do beat Liverpool we will move to within four points of them, Villa and City. With Bellamy, Parker and Zamora all close to returning for West Ham Ljungberg's dream of a Champions League place doesn't quite look so pie in the sky and a UEFA place seems well within our grasp.

Monday, January 21, 2008

West Ham Players Target Europe

Carlton Cole and Freddie Ljungberg are both targeting a European place this season. Cole thinks that West Ham are capable of a top six finish,

"I really believe we're confident enough to push on now,", said Cole. "We're in 10th spot at the moment, but we're only a couple of wins away from the top six and, if we had got the win we deserved against City, we would have been even closer."

Ljungberg however is being even more ambitious and thinks West Ham could even achieve a Champions League spot,

"I looked at the Premier League table before the weekend, and we were only seven points off fourth place with a game in hand over every club above us apart from Liverpool, and we play them in our next home game.

"I felt we were capable of closing the gap and getting into the fight for fourth place, and I still think that is possible even though it has opened up to nine points now. A couple of wins can really get you moving in the right direction, and it is very tight behind the top three.”

Davenport Neck Bone Fracture

Calum Davenport has suffered a fracture to a bone in his neck. The West Ham defender was injured in his first appearance of the season on Saturday playing on loan for Watford.

Davenport has had his loan agreement prematurely terminated as a result of the injury and is now in a private hospital where he will be monitored over the next few days.

West Ham Target Somoza

According to the Spanish press West Ham have approached Real Betis’ on-loan midfielder Leandro Somoza regarding a January move. The Argentinian defensive midfielder has an Italian passport and is under contract with Villarreal, who loaned him to strugglers Betis in the summer.

Real Betis would not block the player’s departure in January as they do not plan to use their £3 million buy-out option.

West Ham Review

Whilst West Ham's performance yesterday impressed the fans the journalists seem to be more interested in City's lacklustre performance. In fact you were be hard pressed to guess that West Ham were the opposition in some of today's reports as the papers concentrate on City rather than the Hammers.

Where West Ham are mentioned Mark Noble seems to have caught the eye. The Guardian say Mark Noble was 'impressive' and awarded him their man of the match. For The Daily Telegraph 'Freddie Ljungberg constantly menaced down the West Ham right' and 'there were intricate touches from ... Noble' but they named Carlton Cole as their man of the match.

The Daily Mail believe 'Hart rescued City' and that 'Faubert posed an immediate threat when he replaced Boa Morte 20 minutes from time.' The Times say West Ham have been the better team in each of the three recent clashes between the two teams. They also believe Hart saved City yesterday and that Noble "may be forcing himself into Capello’s long-term plans."

Man City vs West Ham Highlights

Sunday, January 20, 2008

West Ham's Pantsil Stretchered Off

West Ham's injury curse doesn't seem to be letting up just yet. Yesterday Calum Davenport was carried off the pitch in a neck brace in his first on loan match at Watford. Now today John Pantsil has been carried off on a stretcher after complaining of dizziness at the end of Ghana's 2-1 victory over Guinea.

Pantsil has been sent to hospital for checks but assistant coach Renard and team-mate Laryea Kingston have said he felt much better shortly after the game.

"He had a knock to his jaw after a rough challenge during the first half," Renard told reporters.

Kingston added: "He felt weird at half-time, he could not remember anything from the first 45 minutes."

It does beggar belief that a player clearly suffering from concussion at half-time is sent out for the second half.

We can also add to the list Ashton and Etherington who were kept out of today's squad with a 'back' injury and 'an injury picked up in training' respectively.

Man City 1 West Ham 1

West Ham started the game the stronger and opened the scoring as early as the seventh minute. The goal came when a Dunne clearance was intercepted by Noble who then passed to Ljungberg to the right of the City penalty area. Ljungberg passed to Cole, who received the ball with his back to the goal, seven yards out. Cole flicked the ball up and then scored with a spectacular overhead kick.

In the 16th minute Petrov crossed the ball into the West Ham area. Vassell was standing in an offside position as the ball arrived in the box, the ball bounced off Bianchi into Vassell's path and he poked the ball home form six yards. But the referee, not for the last time in the match, made a favourable decision on City's behalf, and allowed the goal.

West Ham then had the better of the rest of the half without really threatening the City goal.

West Ham continued to dominate the game in the second half and this time actually created a few goal scoring chances. Three minutes into the half Noble shot over from the right side of the penalty area 12 yards out. Two minutes later Ljungberg tried a shot from 20 yards out but his shot was blocked by Dunne.

In the 58th minute Ljungberg from the right wing passed to Mullins on the edge of the area and his shot was well saved by Hart at the expense of a corner. In the 68th minute Mullins had another shot from a little further out but the shot was deflected wide.

Man City in their frustration were forced into long free-kick attempts. In the 65th minute Elano tried a 35 yard effort which flew high and wide. Five minutes later Petrov tried a similar effort which was even further off target.

In the 73rd minute Faubert (on for Boa Morte) put the ball into the back of the net two yards out from a Neil cross. The referee disallowed the goal for a push by Bowyer on Dunne off the ball. In the 75th minute Faubert passed the ball from the left wing inside to Cole. Cole in the penalty area helped the ball on to an onrushing Noble and his stretched shot from six yards was straight at Harts' legs.

In the last ten minutes Ljungberg had two good chances. In the 82nd minute he cut inside from the left wing and his shot from 12 yards just missed wide of the left post. In the 88th minute Ljungberg drove into the box and from six yards fired into the side netting.

Seconds from the final whistle Faubert crossed into the box and Cole did well to win the header but his header was well saved by Hart in goal.

In the end the ref's decision to allow Vassell's offside goal and deny Faubert's cost West Ham dear. Phil Dowd cemented a very poor performance by booking Noble late on when the ref let City line up a wall seven yards from the ball. Noble paced out the ten yards (passing the City wall on his way) and Dowd rather than asking City to move the wall back booked Noble instead. Tit!

Man City vs West Ham Live

Because the game is on Sky One today there are a number of live streams in all the major streaming formats.

FSi and LiveFooty have links to streams of today's game.

Radio Five Live has radio commentary of today's game. Non UK listeners will have to find a proxy to listen to the commentary as it is UK only.

Interview With Robert Green

The Sunday Time have an interesting interview with Robert Green. In the interview Green discusses his football and journalism ambitions.

Green, who writes a column for The Independent which isn't ghost written, is obviously an intelligent lad. The interview is well worth a read.

West Ham in the Sundays

The News of the World report that West Ham target Nicky Shorey is set to sign a new lucrative contract with Reading next week. They also claim that West Ham United and Derby County are taking a serious look at Ipswich midfielder Danny Haynes. Haynes, 20, has scored four goals from seven starts this term.

The Mirror believe Marko Pantelic's agent when he says West Ham are interested in him. They repeat his agent's claim that West Ham and Fulham are poised to battle it out to sign the Hertha Berlin striker.

The People say Matthew Upson is taking a leaf out of Tiger Woods and Lewis Hamilton's book in his bid to regain his England spot. The West Ham defender has employed a psychologist to get the best out of himself - with the goal of adding to his seven caps.

"For the past 18 months, I have been speaking to someone about my performances, either in person or on the telephone. We analyse my behaviour and my training," said Upson. "I believe it is starting to pay off."

Upson, 28, wants new England boss Fabio Capello to know that he believes he is ready for an international recall.

He said: Every time I step out on the pitch I want to show I am ready to play for England. It is something I want to achieve.

That is the pinnacle of your career and I am very hungry to do it again."

Man City vs West Ham Match Predictions

Lawrenson (BBC) says that if West Ham can improve the quality of service to Dean Ashton they could snatch a win. Lawrenson has not yet noticed that West Ham are very effective at stopping the opposition playing their game and believes because Manchester City were poor on Wednesday they will improve and win. So despite West Ham creating the more chances on Wednesday and City snatching a lucky win Lawro predicts a 2-1 home win.

Setanta believes West Ham's away form will cancel out City's home form and predicts a 1-1 draw.

Sky say West Ham are "in the right form to inflict a defeat on City, with six wins and four draws from their past 12 league fixtures" but in the end plump for a 1-0 home win.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

BG Happy With West Ham Progress

Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson is happy with West Ham's progress this season. At least that is what he is telling Alan Curbishley.

"I have spoken to BG - I went out with him on Monday," said Curbishley.

"It was the first time I have had a chance to sit down and have a chat. I think he understands we have brought a lot of players in, who are still settling. He is happy with us at the moment. He hasn't set any targets for us. He is pleased we are going along OK and like everybody, he is waiting for the other players to come back to see what we have got."

Curbishley also spoke yesterday of West Ham's attacking and defensive record,

"It has been the most consistent team selection with Green, Neill, Upson and McCartney at the back. What I am going to say to the side, certainly the offensive players, is: 'Give us something a bit more, let's take our chances and be more clinical'.

"And we will see where that takes us."

West Ham Aim for Top Six Finish

Alan Curbishley says that now West Ham have been knocked out of the cup they must aim for a top six finish.

"We can all see where we can get to," said Curbishley. "It was a big disappointment on Wednesday because before the game we were really up for the Cup and we wanted to do well.

"But the talk afterwards was that if we can get a result on Sunday, we may catch one of the teams above us. We feel we have given ourselves a base, a bit of a chance to push on. We are looking to get into that top six or seven.

"We can see a couple of the teams above us. I looked at Portsmouth and Blackburn. Portsmouth are catchable. If we can get a result at Manchester City we can see them as well. I am looking at the fixtures thinking 'let's attack the run-in'.

"We have to be looking upwards not downwards."

Friday, January 18, 2008

West Ham Defender Joins Watford

Calum Davenport has joined Watford on a month loan, with Watford having the option of a permanent deal. Davenport joined West Ham last January and made six appearances for the club in the second half of last season.

This season Davenport has been plagued with a hernia problem. He has recently returned to full fitness but his chances of first team football at West Ham are pretty low with competition form Upson, Fersinand, Gabbidon and Collins.

Dailly's Move Off and On Again

Christian Dailly's loan move to Rangers has been off and on again today. This morning reports said the West Ham defender had turned down a loan move to the Scottish club citing 'family reasons' for his rejection.

However according to the Evening News Dailly has had a re-think this afternoon and a deal that would see him join on a five-month loan until the end of the season could now be struck.

West Ham's Gabbidon Back

Danny Gabbidon is the latest West Ham player to return to fitness. Speaking on the West Ham official site Gabbidon said,

"It's always frustrating when you are out injured, as you just want to be out there playing. But I am pleased to be back in training now. While the FA Cup match against City was a bit too soon for me, there is maybe a chance I will be available for the league game against them."

"For me, coming back from injury and with Anton and Matty doing well, I will have to just continue to work as hard as I can and grab my chance when it comes along. It is a good thing for West Ham though that we have good quality central defenders competing for just a couple of places and indeed the whole squad is strong, so that can only help us go forward as the season goes on."

Celtic After Noble

According to today's Daily Mirror Celtic are interested in buying West Ham's Mark Noble. Gordon Strachan was at West Ham's cup tie on Wednesday and The Mirror say it is because Strachan is preparing to make a £4 million bid for Noble.

Pantelic Claims Interest From West Ham

Marko Pantelic's agent cliams West Ham are interested in signing the Hertha Berlin striker. Marc Schermann (Pantelic's agent) claims that West Ham and Fulham have both shown an interest in his client.

"I've had contact from West Ham and Fulham - they have confirmed their interest," Schermann said. "Marko will be making a decision about his long-term future in the next few months."

Of course agents should always be believed.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dailly to Rangers

According to the BBC West Ham are considering a loan offer from Rangers for Christian Dailly. Ugo Ehiogu is apparently about to leave Rangers for Sheffield Utd and Dailly is seen as an ideal replacement.

Dailly is back at West Ham following his loan spell at Southampton but it now seems he could join Rangers on loan until June.

West Ham's Performance Against City

The Daily Express felt that the 'defences reigned supreme'. West Ham are a 'resilient side' and felt that Boa Morte 'should have passed to Freddy Ljungberg.' In fact The Times felt that 'most of the football on the night came from West Ham United.'

The Daily Mirror felt Ashton and Boa Morte should both have scored for West Ham. The Daily Telegraph also thought Ashton 'ought to have opened the scoring.' The Guardian felt that Boa Morte was involved in 'West Ham's three best chances (and) his departure reduced their threat.'

However The Mail (and most of the papers) felt Petrov was the man of the match and although when Elano scored West Ham 'could already have been a couple of goals to the good' Petrov's creativity in the end decided the match.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Etherington Signs New West Ham Contact

Matthew Etherington has signed a new contract with West Ham which could keep him at the club until the summer of 2012. Etherington said on signing his new deal,

"I am delighted to have signed a new contract and commit my future to West Ham. I have always been happy here since the day I arrived and I look forward to the next four-and-a-half years."

Etherington's new deal puts paid to the rumours that said all contract renegotiations at the club had been put off until the summer. There have been suggestions that Ashton and Neil in particular are unhappy with their present deals, which see them being paid far less than the summer signings, but that the club were tightening the purse strings and would not be signing any new deals until the end of the season.

West Ham Out of Cup

In a a pretty dour game West Ham had the chances to win the match but ultimately lost to an Elano goal.

The Hammers were good yet again at breaking up the game play of the opposition and Green in goal had very little to do. However West Ham again lacked creativity going forward. The most creative player on the day was probably Petrov and it was his quality that led to the goal. In the 70th minute he skinned Neil on the left wing before putting in a good cross that Bianchi headed against the post. Elano was the first to the rebound to head in the winner for City.

Up front for West Ham Ashton still looked a little flat footed but did have a couple of good chances to score. In the first half Boa Morte put an excellent ball into the five yard box and City just stood and watched as Ashton ran onto the ball, but his stretching shot at point blank range was straight at Hart. In the 45th minute Dunne misheaded a West Ham punt forward and Ashton was nearly put clean through but an out rushing Hart got to the ball first. The ball rebounded to Boa Morte but he hurried his shot and put the ball well wide.

West Ham vs Man City

Lucas Neil is expected to be available again after his hamstring injury. Otherwise West Ham's starting line up is likely to be the same as last Saturday, although Curbishley has talked about changing things around.

Ljungberg's performance against Fulham should see him get the nod in front of Faubert. Curbishley has hinted that the French winger has impressed in training but is still not ready for the starting eleven,

"It was probably a little bit too early on Saturday, but I decided to give it a go because I felt if he got 20 minutes, he could change the game - but I have got to be a little bit careful with him," the West Ham manager said.

He has joined in training the last couple of weeks and some of the players hadn't seen him."

"He's come into training and they have had a good look at him and they have all been asking 'when's he going to be fit'?"

In the end Faubert was only given about a minute at the very end of Saturday's game. I expect he might get a little longer in the second half today.

Curbishley has hinted that there might be changes elsewhere,

"We are playing City again on Sunday, so I have got to shake it up a bit and see where we come out. The back five have played all the football. I will have to look at that."

Presuming that Curbishley isn't going to drop Green that might mean a rest for Upson or McCartney in either the next two games. Curbishley seems to have targeted cup competitions this year as the club's best shot at qualifying for Europe so he may well decide to change things around on Sunday rather than today.

Mazzola Denies West Ham Trial

Independiente striker Nicolas Mazzola has denied he has undertaken a trial at West Ham adding to the mystery of Curbishley's claim that he has. The Independiente manager had previously denied that Mazzola had been in England and Mazzola now says the same,

"I have been told that in England the coach of West Ham spoke about me but I haven't been there," Mazzola said.

"I know that Independiente have received several proposals but they have all been refused. It wasn't nice to know that something had been invented about me.

"I like English football, the way it is played. If I'm asked if I would like to be transferred now I would say yes, but I still haven't played in the Argentinian Premier Division.

"My objective is to keep working with the first team and make myself known in the country before playing abroad."

Cole Thanks West Ham Manager

Carlton Cole has thanked West Ham manager Alan Curbishley for giving him an extended run in the first team.

"This is the first time ever I've had 15 games back to back in my whole career. Curbs has given me the opportunity to do so. I'm so happy right now and I couldn't be in a better place," Cole said.

"Everyone needs a manager who will stick by them through thick and thin, and usually players do find that a manager like Curbs is like that.

"I'm so happy right now and I couldn't be in a better place, and I'm going to try and do more for the manager over the coming months.”

Having defended Cole earlier in the year, when a lot of West Ham fans were on his back, I'm going to be a little ungenerous now by suggesting that this is a well timed reminder by Cole to Curbishley that he has done a job for the team. Unfortunately for Cole, with Bellamy and Zamora returning to fitness, he may find he won't get as many opportunities in the next few months.

Cole has proved that he can play an effective role as a target man, holding up the ball and providing assists for other players. However having scored only two goals in the league he will presumably soon make way for a fit Bellamy and may even find himself below Zamora in the starting line up.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bellamy Back Soon for West Ham

The Daily Mail claim that Craig Bellamy will make a return to the West Ham first team on the 30th January against Liverpool. Bellamy is back in full training after recovering from his abdominal strain. The Mail presumably believe he will need two weeks to recover match fitness.

West Ham Close In on Technical Director?

Amidst rumours that West Ham are close to announcing who their new technical director will be former Holland international Stan Valckx has denied it is him. Valckx was at the West Ham game on Saturday which led to speculation that he was going to be appointed to the vacant position at West Ham.

Valckx, on being asked if he was about to be given the job, responded,

"Are they suggesting that I will become the new technical director of West Ham?” Valckx asked Elf Voetbal. At this moment that is not the situation.

“It is correct, however, that I was there at the game. Why? I want to say nothing further concerning that.”

West Ham Linked With Haynes

According to The Daily Mail West Ham last night had a £1.5million offer turned down for Ipswich nineteen year old winger Danny Haynes. The paper say West Ham are willing to go up to £3m for the winger.

At least that is what The Daily Mail say. Ipswich manager Jim Magilton says, "we've had no contact at all with West Ham".

Bent for Sale

According to The Times Darren Bent has been placed on the transfer list for £12.5 million. West Ham were prepared to pay more than the £15.5 million that Sp@~s paid for him in the summer. Unfortunately for Bent West Ham are probably no longer prepared to pay even £12.5 million nor would they would be likely to pay him the same personal terms he could have negotiated in the summer. Silly boy.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Walcott and West Ham

The very unreliable today claimed that Theo Walcott could be joining West Ham on loan for the rest of the season. The rumour seems to have been met with some credence on some of the West Ham forums because of the lack of first team opportunities for Walcott at Arsenal and the fact that West Ham are supposed to be looking to bring in a striker on loan.

West Ham were rumoured to have had a loan offer turned down last January and Walcott seems to be getting a few more outings in Arsenal's first team this season so I can't really see this one happening.

West Ham in for Israeli International

Despite Alan Curbishley's claims that West Ham are not really looking to sign any new players West Ham continue to be linked to players. Today Channel Five of Israel say that West Ham are interested in Israeli midfielder Maor Bouzaglo. Bouzaglo, 20, has played twice for the Israeli national side.

Going in the opposite direction is West Ham United defender Bondz Ngala, who has been loaned out to Weymouth for the rest of the season. Ngala made his Weymouth début in the goalless draw against Kidderminster in the second round of the FA Trophy.

West Ham's Competition for Places

Alan Curbishley, on the official site, has reiterated that West Ham are not determined to bring in new players in January.

"I have decided that unless something really critical happens, we won't be doing too much. The players that have been playing have been done fantastically well and the players that are coming back are desperate to get back."

"Hopefully they will all get themselves fit and I won't have any sleepless nights at all regarding the injuries - but team selection may be a little bit difficult. That would be a nice thing."

Curbishley seems to think that the competition for places might also have a positive effect on the players and that it will help stop the kind of mistakes that led to Fulham's goal on Saturday,

"Ferdinand should have been marking, he should have been the other side of him. He has redeemed himself with the goal and his second-half performance. As James Collins said to him: 'I'm just waiting, I'm just waiting'. That's nice, that's what we have got at the moment. We have got one or two people putting pressure on."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Zamora Staying at West Ham

Alan Curbishley and Bobboy Zamora have united to rubbish suggestions that West Ham want to sell Bobby Zamora.

"I can't imagine anyone contemplating going in for a player who is not fit and has not even trained for us for four months. It's unbelievable,” said Curbishley.

"He was injured on August 28 and we have not seen him since. I don't see where that story comes from there is nothing to talk about."

Zamora added: "I have got four years left on my current contract and have been promised a new contract as well, so I know the club want me to stay.

"I certainly want to remain here. As usual it's all paper talk, which can be a bit unsettling, but you get used to it as a player when the transfer window comes round.

"I'm not even playing at the moment and getting back fit to play for West Ham is my only priority."

West Ham Win Reviewed in the Sundays

The Daily Mail thought Fulham were 'second rate' but were almost let off the hook when West Ham made "their customary poor start."

The Daily Express agree that West Ham started the game poorly but that they looked good after the first twenty minutes, "West Ham were snoozing ... That was until Ashton got in front of Aaron Hughes to glance home a header ... Suddenly the Hammers were buzzing." The Express felt Mark Noble was man of the match.

The Daily Telegraph felt that it was Dean Ashton who was man of the match, "A fit-again Dean Ashton was a constant menace in the first half, equalising with a bullet header and then bringing two world-class saves out of Antti Niemi."

The Guardian, as they do every week, damn West Ham with faint praise, saying we were "professional, if a little uninspiring".

The Times felt West Ham started poorly and that the defence was 'slugabed', whatever that is. In fact they say "West Ham were cowed and tentative." However once West Ham equalised it was a different game, "Mark Noble waxed as Fulham waned (and) Ljungberg was a hive of industry on the right."

The Independent website said nothing as it succumbed to its usually Sunday morning hangover and played dead to the world.

West Ham Lose £18 Million

According to The Independent West Ham made a loss of £18 million last year compared to a £3.6m profit the year before. The paper repeats the claim that West Ham's heavy spending last January and the high wages paid to those signed in the summer contributed to Magnusson being ousted at the club.

The Independent say West Ham have put on hold contract talks with players such as Lucas Neill and Dean Ashton until the summer. Neill is seeking parity with the top earners but has been told he will only be given a year's extension. Dean Ashton, who has two years left, is now one of the lowest earners at the club.

However the paper does say that West Ham are in the market for an 'established' striker. Worryingly they include Zamora in a list of Davenport, Quashie, Pantsil and Dailly that the club are looking to sell.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Curbishley Speaks

West Ham Goals

For a short time only:

Curbs Blasts Anton, Anton Scores

West Ham manager Alan Curbishley revealed in his post-match comments that he was especially pleased with Anton Ferdinand's winner as the defender had borne the brunt of his anger at Fulham's early goal.

"Anton was the one that copped it at half-time. I wasn't happy with the way we started. They came out second half determined to put it right," said Curbishley.

Curbishley also took time out to praise striker Dean Ashton,

"We feel that if we can give Dean the chances, he will take them," said Curbishley. "He is a really good finisher. Niemi has made a fantastic save from another one of his efforts. It is just a question of him getting a bit sharper and us playing a bit better to create some chances."

Faubert Wants to Pleasure You

Julien Faubert was thrilled to make his début today for West Ham, no matter how brief his appearance. Faubert was brought on late against Fulham and played the last two minutes of the match.

"I am very happy," said the Franch winger. "I want to give pleasure to the fans and to do that I have to be on the pitch."

"I heard them (the fans) supporting me and I am very happy. There was a big cheer when I was preparing. I just played two minutes but for me, and for my mind, it was good. I hope I can play maybe 25 minutes or 45 minutes in the FA Cup. For my body, it is good to play. I want to be in contention for the next match."

However it looks like Faubert's wish will be thwarted by the West Ham manager,

"To be honest, it is too early for Faubert," Curbishley said after the game. "He has played half a game in the reserves on Monday. He is still going through a pre-season situation but Freddie Ljungberg came off injured against Arsenal so I didn't know if he was going to last. Lee Bowyer has been out for eight weeks so I didn't know if he was going to last.

"I spoke to Julian yesterday and he was so keen. He said he felt really good but I am not too sure how long he would have lasted. I didn't want to expose him. We have waited so long to get him fit and we have still got to wait a little longer. It was good to get him out there, the fans have seen him for a minute."

West Ham 2 Fulham 1

Faubert and Boa Morte started the game on the bench. Neil was not named in the squad.

Fulham started by far the stronger team and their early push was soon rewarded. In the seventh minute a Simon Davies free-kick from 25 yards evaded everyone and ended up in the back of the net to give Fulham an early lead.

It took West Ham a while to get back into the game but after about fifteen minutes they started to exert some sustained pressure. In the 28th minute Ljungberg escaped Konchesky on the right wing, crossed into the box and Dean Ashton's header from 6 yards beat Niemi to make it 1-1.

From then on it was nearly all West Ham. In the 34th minute Dean Ashton shot left-footed from the centre of the penalty area twelve yards out and Niemi parried the ball onto the post. Then in the 40th minute Ashton's 18 yard left-footed drive from the right side of the penalty area was tipped over by Niemi. Carlton Cole had an effort saved by Niemi from 6 yards in the 43rd minute when he should have probably scored.

For Fulham in the 36th minute Aaron Hughes had time and space from a corner to shoot left-footed from the left side of the penalty area 6 yards out but missed wide left of the post. But West Ham ended the half by far the stronger team.

West Ham started the second half like they finished the first and created some early pressure. In the 49th minute Ljungberg found Ashton in the box but his attempt to chip Niemi never threatened Niemi. In the 54th minute Etherington passed the ball into the path of an onrushing Noble, but his shot hit Stefanovic and sailed behind for a corner. In the 58th minute Noble got into the penalty area and again hit Stefanovic with his shot, this time the ball cannoned into Niemi's hands.

West Ham continued to dominate and in the 61st minute had two chances to take the lead. Cole's header from Noble's corner was hacked off the line by Konchesky and Upson's effort from another cross drifted just wide. Three minutes later Cole almost escaped Stefanovic to be clear through on goal but the defender just got his toe to the ball.

In the 65th minute Boa Morte replaced Cole.

In the 69th Mark Noble did well to keep the ball in play and then sent a low cross into the box where Ferdinand (up for an earlier corner) drilled a right-footed shot into the bottom-left of the goal from the centre of the penalty area 12 yards out to make it 2-1 to West Ham.

Two minutes later Ashton had the chance to make the game safe but his shot from 6 yards just missed the goal wide right.

Fulham then began to show a little fight. In the 75th minute a low cross from the right evaded Green but with the goal gaping Upson managed to get to the ball first and put the ball behind for a corner. From the corner Noble cleared the ball off the goal line, then a minute later Chris Baird headed a free-kick over from three yards.

In the 82nd minute Bowyer replaced Etherington. In the 89th minute Faubert was brought on for Ljungberg.

With the last kick of the game Bullard shot from the edge of the box but his effort was deflected just wide. Despite their late flurry Fulham were unable to equalise and West Ham earned a deserved win. Come on you Irons!

West Ham vs Fulham Live

At the moment there only seems to be one TVAnts stream of the game. Both FSI and LiveFooty have a TVAnts link that they both say is still to be confirmed.

The TVAnts link is probably this one

Radio commentary is available from Radio London DAB (digital radio only) and Sky Channel 0152.

Friday, January 11, 2008

West Ham vs Fulham Predictions

Sky Sports think that Fulham will be boosted by a number of players returning to fitness and predict a 1-1 draw.

Setanta think that Roy Hodgson has not had much of an effect on Fulham's results and can't see their record of 27 away games without a win changing this weekend. They predict a 2-0 win for West Ham.

Lawrenson on the BBC says he feels sorry for West Ham and the number of injuries they have suffered and in an unusual act of generosity towards the Hammers also predicts a 2-0 home win.

Independiente Denies, Sun Apologises

Independiente secretary of sport Leandro Battafarano has denied that Nicolas Mazzola is at West Ham.

"As far as we are concerned, we have not been told about Mazzola going to England," he said. "He is having pre-season training with the first team in Mar del Plata now.

This does not necessarily contradict Alan Curbishley's account of the teenager having trained with the West Ham squad, it just means he has now returned to South America.

However it does appear that Independiente are not going to let Mazzola go on the cheap,

"We haven't set a transfer fee because we are not planning to sell him anywhere," continued Battafarano. "We want to enjoy his skills in the first team here."

"I cannot say now whether there was an official West Ham offer, but he is a very good player and a lot of teams have made different offers.

"Several of them were English clubs, and there was not just one."

In other news The Sun has been forced to apologise for lying about a bust up between Alan Curbishley and Craig Bellamy. They printed this apology today:

"In our article of August 18, we reported that Craig Bellamy had a dressing-room bust-up with his manager Alan Curbishley one month after joining West Ham.

We have been asked to point out the reported incident did not in fact take place. We apologise for any misunderstanding and are happy to set the record straight."

West Ham in for Another Argentinian Star

Kumb are reporting that West Ham are to bid £1 million for 17 year old Argentinian striker Nicolas Mazzola. The player recently trained with the West Ham squad and Alan Curbishley obviously believes he has potential,

"He is a young boy we have had training with us. He is only 17 years old so not for the first team at the moment."

Currently playing for Independiente Mazzola was recommended to West Ham by Trevor Brooking after impressing at the youth World Cup Finals last year.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

West Ham Team News for Fulham

The official site has released hints ahead of Saturday's game. They say Luis Boa Morte should be in the squad having come through an extended run-out with the reserves. Julien Faubert who played for 45 minutes for the reserves this week is thought to be still a week or two away.

James Collins and Calum Davenport both played the full 90 minutes in this week's reserve game and may make the bench. Lee Bowyer has had a full week's training so may also make the bench.

Danny Gabbidon and Freddie Ljungberg are back in training, with Craig Bellamy due to join in fully from Friday. This Saturday's game looks a a bit early for them, as it does for Bobby Zamora who is due to step up his running on Monday.

John Pantsil and Henri Camara, as well as Fulham's Diomansy Kamara, are unavailable due to the African Cup of Nations. Jimmy Bullard and Brian McBride both have knee injuries which should keep them out of the Fulham squad.

West Ham vs Liverpool Game Moved

West Ham's home fixture against Liverpool will now take place on Wednesday 30 January at 7.45pm rather than on the originally scheduled Tuesday.

The match has been moved due to West Ham's possible involvement in an FA Cup fourth-round tie at Sheffield United at 4pm on Sunday 27 January - a match that will be live on Sky Sports.

The Manchester City vs West Ham FA Cup replay will be televised by the BBC on Wednesday 16 January, kick-off at 8.05pm. West Ham are also due to be on TV on Sunday 20 January, when they face City away again. The match starts at 4pm.

West Ham Injury Update

The official West Ham website has confirmed that Scott Partker has picked up another injury.

West Ham United head physiotherapist George Cooper said,

"Scott's injury is totally unrelated to his last injury. He has sustained an injury that is more common in rugby than it is in football actually in that he has torn the posterior capsule of his knee."

No date has been set for his return.

Cooper however had better news about the return of Faubert,

"Julien is medically fit, his achilles is fine and didn't react at all. He got through the reserve game fine on Monday and probably could have stayed on longer but considering he sustained the injury in pre-season last time we decided that 45 was enough. We actually feel he is more than ready to crack on as he is training everyday."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

West Ham Transfer Targets

Despite West Ham clearly stating that they are not in the buying market this transfer window the newspapers continue to speculate.

The Mirror say Alan Curbishley is trying to but Nicky Shorey, El Hadji Diouf and David Nugent. They claim that are trying to tempt Reading "with a player-plus-cash deal involving Upton Park out-of-favour striker Zamora. But West Ham are demanding £5million for Zamora with a £1m cash adjustment for Shorey."

The paper claim West Ham have already had a bid for Marseille's Djibril Cisse knocked back.

The Daily Mail claim that West Ham are interested in signing the former Liverpool striker on loan as cover until the rest of the season.

Parker Out for Two Months

Just as West Ham's injury problems seemed to have cleared up The Times say Scott Parker has been ruled out for two months. Parker had played eight matches in a row before picking up a knee injury against Man Utd. He was beginning to look a real presence for West Ham but the injury problems that have blighted his career look like they are to continue.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

City vs West Ham Live

The FA Cup third-round replay between Manchester City and West Ham United will be shown live on BBC One on Wednesday 16 January. Kick off 8.05pm. The winners will play Sheffield United in the fourth round.

Faubert Snubbed Lazio for West Ham

Julien Faubert has revealed that he turned down Lazio in favour of signing for West Ham and he denies it was for the money,

“My dream is to play in England,” he told L’Equipe. “West Ham are an historical club. Some said I left for money. But I would have earned the same at Lazio.

“England corresponds more to my qualities than Italy. It is about speed and involvement.”

Faubert's appearance for the reserves last night has improved his chances of appearing on the bench this Saturday but the French international hinted that first team football may still be a couple of games away,

“I have been waiting for five months so I can wait for a few more weeks.”

West Ham Interest in Fred

According to Sky Sports West Ham are amongst a number of clubs showing an interest in Brazilian striker Fred. The player returned late from Lyon's winter break and he has said he wants to leave Lyon and Lyon are happy to let him go.

Paris Saint Germain are keen to take him on loan, but Lyon are seemingly waiting to see what offers come in for the 24-year-old. This could deter West Ham who may also be looking to take on a striker only on loan.

The Mail say that West Ham are likely to miss out on Marseille's Cisse because they are only look for a loan deal. Both Marseille and Cisse are looking to part company on a permanent basis.

West Ham's Improvements on Last Season

The Telegraph have done some interesting analysis of Premier League sides for this season so far.

The big surprise for me is that West Ham are the fourth best team for accuracy in crosses and corners. At this point last season we were in last place. Solano's corners and crosses have made a big difference this season but I would never have guessed by that much.

The other area where we have improved strikingly (pun intended) is in the number of goals scored. We have scored twice as many goals as at this stage last season, although we are still only the thirteenth highest scorers in the Premier League.

Another interesting (if unwanted) statistic is that Nigel Reo-Coker tops the tackling table, having made more tackles than any other player in the Premier League. I wonder where he stands in the assists table?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Faubert Plays for West Ham Reserves

Julien Faubert played the first half of tonight's reserve game against Villa and it didn't take the French winger long to make an impact on the game. In the first minute Faubert played a one-two with Jack Collison before slotting the ball past an outrushing keeper.

Faubert was substituted at half time. West Ham held onto the lead until three minutes from then end before Villa dramatically equalised and then got a winner in the dying seconds.

Luis Boa Morte also got an hour's match practice before being substituted. Ex-West Ham forward Marlon Harewood captained the Villa side.

West Ham Could Face Sheff Utd

The winner of the Man City vs West Ham FA Cup replay face the prospect of Sheffield United away in the fourth round.

If West Ham beat the Blades in the FA Cup they will presumably face two years of court action as Sheffield United chairman McCabe doesn't believe these things should be decided on the pitch.

Bellamy and Zamora in the Running

The official site has confirmed that Bellamy and Zamora are both back in training again after their injuries. Alan Curbishley said,

"Bellamy is running. We are hopeful he is going to be not too long. They both look as if they are going to start full training together."

The official site also confirms that James Collins, Lee Bowyer, Luis Boa Morte and Julien Faubert are in contention for tonight's reserve game against Villa. Villa have included Marlon Harewood in their reserves squad.

West Ham's New Team

According to PhysioRoom Alan Curbishley will have 12 players returning from injury this week. That is a full extra team to choose from for Saturday's game. It also means that Dyer will be the only one left on the injury list.

However despite what PysioRoom says I expect Saturday's game will probably be a bit too early for some of the long term injured to feature and we may have to wait a little longer to see Zamora, Bellamy and Faubert. A number of the players are said to be featuring in today's reserve game against Villa so by tonight we should have a better idea of who will be available for selection against Fulham.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

West Ham in the Sunday Papers

The Mirror and The News of the World say that West Ham hope to sign Tiago Mendes from Juventus. The Portuguese player has flopped since joining Juventus from Lyon for £9.5million this season.

The People say that Alan Curbishley wants to sign the new Carlos Tevez - Argentine teenage wonder striker Nicolas Mazzola.

The People say that The Independiente forward, who played for his country in the Under-17 World Youth Cup in Korea earlier this campaign, has already been over for secret talks.

West Ham may be able to land him for a knockdown fee of around £1million. Sources in Argentina reveal that Mazzola, who has already cracked the first team at Independiente, was first spotted by the Hammers in the Korean tournament by Trevor Brooking, who tipped them off about his ability.

Mazzola, 18 later this month, was approached and gladly came for a look at the facilities in East London, with a move now likely to be sorted out before the end of the window.

West Ham are also making thorough doublechecks into his background to make sure there are no third-party issues as there were with Tevez and Javier Mascherano.

West Ham also want to be sure that Mazzola has a valid EC passport after being told that he qualifies through an Italian family background.

The People also claim that West Ham are after Hungarian Under-21 defender Zsolt Korcsmar. The tall Ujpest Dosza centre half has also been in for a 'test' and has been asked back soon, with a view to a full-time capture.

The People also say that Curbishley has made an audacious bid to take Darren Bent on loan from T*tenham for the rest of the season. He wants to add another striker to his injury-hit squad but does not have the money to spend big.

West Ham Performance Rated

Most of the papers seemed unimpressed by West Ham or City yesterday. The Guardian were the most bored as 'West Ham and Manchester City frustratingly wasted away 90 minutes of football.' The fact that both managers were 'pleased with the draw and the defending' the paper says 'speaks volumes'.

The Daily Mail say 'City created the best opportunities' and 'had strong shouts for a first-half penalty.' West Ham 'created chances of their own but generally lacked any cutting edge up front, where Dean Ashton was disappointing alongside Carlton Cole.'

Similarly The Independent were unimpressed with West Ham's strikers, 'though Cole won many of his aerial challenges and Ashton is astute at getting in front of his markers, they created little between them.'

The Daily Telegraph felt that 'Petrov was the main threat' and conceded that West Ham 'had their own penalty claim late on when Carlton Cole appeared to head against Vedran Corluka's arm.'

The Times disagreed with The Guardian's dour assessment of the game and said 'it was a flowing match, full of attacking energy, and there might have been three or four goals.' The reason there weren't any goals was because 'the goalkeepers were both excellent.' The Times were even impressed with the pairing of Cole and Ashton who they claim 'were threatening.'

Saturday, January 05, 2008

West Ham 0 Man City 0

Ashton and Etherington were brought back into the first eleven as Curbishley started with a more attacking line up than against Man Utd and Arsenal.

Man City had the better of the possession in the first half but a strong West Ham defence restricted them to just one chance on goal whilst creating more opportunities themselves on the break.

City's chance fell to Ireland from a Petrov cross in the 15th minute. His right-footed shot from the right side of the penalty area was tipped over the bar by Robert Green. In the 25th minute West Ham had a similar chance when a cross by Hayden Mullins was met by Matthew Etherington, who drilled a left-footed shot from the left side of the penalty area, which was tipped over by Hart.

In the 33rd minute Mark Noble took a free kick 20 yards out. His right footed shot was tipped round the post by Hart.

In the second half Neil was replaced by Spector. In the 48th minute City doubled their shots on target when Ireland shot right footed from 18 yards but his shot was blocked by McCartney. In the 62nd minute Mullins shot left-footed from the right channel from 20 yards but missed wide of the left hand post. In the 66th minute Spector shot over from 6 yards.

In the 69th minute Etherington was replaced by Reid. Then in the 75th minute Bowyer came on for Mullins. West Ham's best chance of the half came in the 84th minute when Ashton met a Reid cross with his head from 6 yards and Hart was forced to tip the ball over the bar.

With both sides seeming to lack a real goal threat up front the game ended a goalless draw.

Replay: Wed 16th January

West Ham vs Man City Live

There doesn't seem to be any streaming of today's game.

Live radio commentary is available from Five Live Sports Extra (UK only).

West Ham vs Man City Predictions

Sky Sports say that midfielders Scott Parker (knee), Nolberto Solano (hamstring) and Freddie Ljungberg (hamstring) are all out of contention but Lee Bowyer and Matthew Etherington are available.

Despite West Ham's injury problems Sky say West Ham will win 1-0.

The bad news from the BBC is that Mark Lawrenson has finally predicted a victory for West Ham. He says that West Ham 'have a good cup tradition and the pressure is off.'

He says West Ham will win 2-0.

Setanta remember that West Ham beat City in the 2006 quarter finals en route to the final.

In a fit of nostalgia they predict the same scoreline - West Ham to win 2-1.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Freddie Did For Eggy

According to The Daily Mail West Ham's signing of the injury prone Freddie Ljungberg in the summer was an important factor in why Eggert Magnusson was ousted from West Ham. The paper claim that Eggy signed the player without consultation with his Icelandic colleagues.

Sky Sports report that Lee Bowyer wants to see out his career at West Ham,

"I would like to finish playing here. That would be my ideal; the icing on the cake for me and my career," the midfielder said.

"I support the club, I love the club; always have and always will. It will be the perfect scenario for me to finish at the club I love."

Meanwhile the official site says that Bowyer and Etherington should be back in contention for Saturday's FA Cup game.

West Ham Can Sign One Player

The Times claim that Alan Curbishley has been told he can make only one signing this January and that West Ham have put on hold contract negotiations with a number of players.

Dean Ashton was rumoured to be in talks about renewing his contract before Christmas and The Times say Lucas Neill and Matthew Etherington were also in talks to extend their contracts. The paper says Neill has been seeking parity with the high wages that some of the summer signings were given. The Times doesn't say why they think contract negotiations have put on hold.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

West Ham Bid For Cisse

Alan Curbishley may have repeated today that West Ham are unlikely to be buying in this transfer window but that has not stopped Djibril Cisse's agent claiming that his client is wanted by West Ham.

Cisse's agent claims West Ham will be making a bid next week but his statement probably owes more to his player's desperation than any real interest from West Ham.The Marseille striker has scored just two goals in seventeen games and has lost his place in the starting line-up to a seventeen year old.

Any deals that the Irons make this month are more likely to be loans than purchases to provide back-up for the injuries that have stricken the club.

Curbs Says Ashton Stays at West Ham

Alan Curbishley has denied that there is a rift between Dean Ashton and himself. He says that Carlton Cole got the nod ahead of Ashton for the Man Utd game because he was more suited to the formation he wished to play,

“For the past few matches we've played 4-5-1 and Carlton Cole, at this stage, is more suited to that role than Dean," said the West Ham manager.

“I spoke to him before the Manchester United match and I think he understood. After that result it was no surprise we stuck with the same system against Arsenal.

“Dean had an uninterrupted run of games when he came back until he injured his knee. Since he's returned, he's been okay again with no other problems.

We've had a lot of games in a short space of time and I didn't want to overload him. He should be nice and fresh now as we go into Saturday's FA Cup tie against Manchester City."

Alan Curbishley also said that West Ham are not looking to sign anyone in January,

“Things could change if the position gets more acute but I don't envisage us doing much, if anything, during this month.”

West Ham Linked with Italian Striker

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera say Udinese are resigned to selling Antonio Di Natale to West Ham. The paper claim Udinese, and no other Italian club, can compete with the spending power of West Ham but will not sell the Italian international until the end of the season.

KUMB say that Sheffield Utd are keen on buying West Ham midfielder Nigel Quashie. The midfielder has made just eight appearances for West Ham since signing for the club a year ago.

West Ham Slow News Day

The big West Ham news today seems to be that Matthew Upson plays for West Ham and is not injured. You can follow this riveting tale at:

The Telegraph
The Independent
Sky Sports

Alternatively you could waste some time playing with the BBC's Virtual Replay of our FA Cup final against Liverpool.

2005/6 FA Cup Final Virtual Replay

Note how Nigel Reo-Coker strolls towards Riise in the build up to Gerrard's second goal. Riise has all the time in the world to walk forward with the ball and deliver his cross.

I always suspected it was Reo-Chokers fault that we lost.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Ashton to Leave West Ham?

The Daily Star are the first of the tabloids to draw the conclusion that Dean Ashton's presence on the bench in West Ham's last two games means that there is a rift between the player and Curbishley.

The Star say the that West Ham promised to open contract talks with Ashton before Christmas. However no offer was made and "now Ashton is unsure whether he plays a major role in Curbishley's thoughts."

With West Ham's injury problems The Star find it incredible that Ashton didn't start against Arsenal. After seeing the success of the 4-5-1 formation against Man Utd it wasn't that surprising that West Ham went for the same formation against Arsenal.

A more telling sign will come this Saturday when West Ham are at home to City.

Ephraim Leaves West Ham

The long rumoured move of Hogan Ephraim to QPR has now been finalised. Ephraim spent three months on loan at Loftus Road earlier in this season and QPR made no secret of the fact that they would like to have the young West Ham winger on a permanent basis.

Ephraim has signed a three-and-a-half year contract with QPR, who have paid West Ham an undisclosed fee. Ephraim only ever made one appearance in the West Ham first team.

West Ham's Tuesday Action

Alan Curbishley was a little critical of the West Ham defence after yesterday's game. Commenting on Arsenal's goals, he said "that hasn't been us this season, conceding like that, so we were disappointed."

Eduardo did find far too much room between Ferdinand and Upson for their opener. On the positive side West Ham did create a number of chances in the first half before fading in the second.

West Ham Injury Update

Alan Curbishley said that the club think Ljungberg injured his hamstring in yesterday's game. However he did have some good news saying that he was 'hopeful' that Matty Etherington will be back in contention this Saturday while Lee Bowyer also has an outside chance.

The official site says French winger Julian Faubert 'is also continuing his return to fitness in full training' so it looks like this Saturday may still be too early in his comeback for him to feature.

Physioroom say Zamora and Bellamy should be available for West Ham's next league game on the 12th.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Arsenal 2 West Ham 0

Parker and Solano failed to recover for today's game but Ljungberg, despite the West Ham official site claiming he was not in the squad, did start. Pantsil and Ferdinand also made the starting line-up.

West Ham made a disastrous start to the game conceding a minute after the kick off. Eduardo scored the Arsenal opener when he met a Fabregas cross with a left footed volley from around the penalty spot that beat Green to his left.

The game then set into a familiar pattern for West Ham away games, with West Ham soaking up pressure and trying to hit Arsenal on the break. In the next twenty minutes, even though Arsenal enjoyed the better of the possession, West Ham created the better chances.

In the 6th minute Noble shot from 18 yards which just missed the right post. Then in the 13th minute Cole shot from 18 yards and his shot was deflected just wide of the post for a corner. Ferdinand rose to the resulting corner but Clichy just managed to clear the header off the line.

In the 17th minute a Ljungberg left footed shot from just inside the box forced Almunia to tip the ball around the post. From the corner Lucas Neil knocked the ball down for Upson but Upson fired his shot over the bar.

Almost immediately Arsenal broke up field, Adebayor just beat Green to a Clichy cross and from a very tight angle near the byline managed to knock the ball across the goalmouth and score off the far post.

Despite being two goals down West Ham still managed to carve out some chances for themselves. In the 31st minute a cross by Carlton Cole was met by John Pantsil, who tried a spectacular overhead kick from the centre of the penalty area and just missed the right post.

In the 37th minute Ljungberg was forced off and reserve captain Jack Collison replaced him. In the 42nd minute Spector seemed to handball in the box but this week he got the luck as a penalty was not given.

The second half, despite West Ham keeping a clean sheet, belonged to Arsenal. Whereas West Ham were able to carve out a few chances in the first half they struggled to get anywhere near the goal in the second.

In the 62nd minute McCartney chested down the ball and tried a left footed half-volley from just outside the box which missed the left hand post by a couple of yards. in the 67nd minute an isolated Cole won a long ball and quickly shot from 25 yards but missed three yards wide of the right post.

Curbishley brought on Ashton and Camara for the last twenty minutes but West Ham never had a sniff of a goal.

Arsenal vs West Ham Live

Fsi and LiveFooty both have links for SopCast and TVAnts streams.

Radio Five is providing radio commentary of the match (UK only).

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